After box-office dud "Raavan", Abhishek Bachchan is returning to the big screen as freedom fighter Surjya Sen in Ashutosh Gowariker's "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey", based on the Chittagong uprising. The actor says he was embarrassed when offered the role as he was ignorant about the historical episode.
"I was embarrassed because as an Indian citizen I didn't know about Surjya Sen, the great Chittagong uprising and these great freedom fighters who laid their lives for our freedom. I felt the story should be told at a wider scale," Abhishek told IANS.
Based on journalist Manini Chatterjee's book "Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34", the film is a true story about revolution against the British in Chittagong, then a district in undivided Bengal. The film also stars Deepika Padukone as Kalpana Dutta.
Abhishek, 34, was in Shimla to unveil the world's tallest statue of Lord Hanuman.
The actor says the film is an attempt to pay tribute to the people involved in the Chittagong uprising.
"I did 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey' because I wanted to pay tribute to the freedom fighters of our country. Very little is known about the Chittagong uprising and when I got to know about it, I felt it was a story worth telling. It is Ashutosh and my small way of paying tribute to some great people involved in this revolution," he added.
The actor confesses he always tries to do films that present him in a different avatar.
"I have always tried, in whatever films I do, to bring out an unexplored side of mine and that's why I do films. As an actor I wish to do something new and something more challenging which brings out a different side of me. There's lot more work to be done," he said.
Not many know that Abhishek has a religious side too, which he credits to his grandparents, especially grandmother Teji Bachchan.
"I credit my religious beliefs to my grandparents, especially my grandmother because as children she has taught us about Hinduism, other religions, and I owe it to them," said the actor.
"She used to tell us about the adventures of Hanuman which all of us still remember," added Abhishek who admits being a god- fearing man. He doesn't fast on Tuesdays, but indeed reads the Hanuman Chalisa.
Abhishek got his first break in Bollywood with J.P. Dutta's 2000 release "Refugee" alongside Kareena Kapoor. After that he did films like "Kuch Naa Kaho", "Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai"and "Shararat", but without much success.
Constant comparisons with his father, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, made the going tough for Abhishek until Mani Ratnam's "Yuva" in 2004. The action thriller gave him a platform to prove his mettle.
After that there was no looking back - from a flop actor Abhishek went on to become a versatile artist by doing a variety of roles in movies like "Sarkar", "Bluffmaster", "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", "Guru", "Dostana", "Delhi-6" and "Paa".